A family looks at a pink classic Ford truck at the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival
Classic cars are the centerpiece of the 2023 Birthplace of Route 66 Festival in downtown Springfield. (Photo: Jym Wilson)

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Organizers of the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival are once again looking for talented singer/songwriters, dancers and other performers for the second annual Great Route 66 Talent Search.

That search is one of several free events planned for the 2024 Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, Aug. 8-10 in downtown Springfield. The event annually attracts tens of thousands of attendees from across the country.

From Springfield to ‘America's Got Talent'

The Great Route 66 Talent Search is divided into two categories: professionals and amateurs. The winners of both categories will receive a “guaranteed front of the line pass” to attend a virtual open call audition in one of the official casting call locations for NBC's “America’s Got Talent.” The 2023 winners were Vic Vaughan and Brecka Henderson.

Registration is live now on the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival’s website and is open to all legal residents of the United States who are 18 years or older at the time of entry and live in the KY3 viewing area. Entrants will be sorted into amateur and professional categories again this year.

Festival organizers will review all submissions and select acts to compete in the semifinals. For that round, a panel of judges will review entry videos and choose 10 professional acts and 10 amateur acts to advance to the final, live competition. The City of Springfield said the judges are local and “well versed in the entertainment industry.”

The finals of the Great Route 66 Talent Search are scheduled for 1 p.m. Aug. 10 inside the Shrine Mosque (“where Elvis and Bob Dylan once performed.”) Finalists will perform in front of the panel of judges and a live audience. Admission is free.

Emerald City Band headlines kickoff concert and street party

Low to the ground, bright and shiny, a hot rod passes through the intersection of Jefferson and St. Louis during the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival parade. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

Also back is the Rockin' the Route concert and street party, which debuted in 2022. It starts at 7 p.m. Aug. 8, in Motorcycle Village on South Jefferson Avenue near East McDaniel Street. The event, like others at the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, is free and open to the public.

The Emerald City Band returns for its third year as the headliner for Rockin’ the Route. The 13-piece, Dallas-based band has an eclectic set list, featuring 1960s Motown, 1970s disco, 1980s jams and current-day hits.

Parade, live music and more will entertain the crowds

The Birthplace of Route 66 Festival really gets going on Aug. 9, with the car show starting at noon. The popular parade starts at 6 p.m. at Grant Avenue and College Street. It will travel east through Park Central Square to St. Louis Street before dispersing at National Avenue.

A pre-parade party is planned for the Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park (1200 W. College St.) at 4:30 p.m.

Concerts get underway at 1 p.m. Aug. 9 on the Aaron Sachs Motorcycle Village Stage, with Skyler Weimer, Springtown 66, the Mixtapes and Machine Gun Symphony all scheduled to perform. The Aug. 10 lineup starts at noon and includes Harper Atkins and guitarist Matt Brown, the Dan Conklin Band, Midwest Thick, Jake Stringer, Dirty Saints and Sixwire.

A full lineup of performers will also take the Chevy Dealers of the Ozarks Stage at Park Central Square Aug. 9-10.

Other attractions across the festival footprint include the Women’s World Expo at the Shrine Mosque and the Authors, Artists, Collectors & Associations expo at the Old Glass Place. Attendees are also encouraged to visit the History Museum on the Square and tour the Birthplace of Route 66 Gallery.

Registration is available online; organizers are looking for food and merchandise vendors

Rout 66 Festival featuring antique, vintage, rat rods cars in downtown Springfield. (Photo by Jym Wilson, 2022)

Registration links for the car show, Charity Bike Show and the Gypsy Tour Poker Run, which benefits the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association go live March 21 on the official Birthplace of Route 66 Festival website.

Food and merchandise vendors interested in having a presence at the festival can email masterfuleventsmo@gmail.com for more information.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger is the Reader Engagement Editor for the Hauxeda, and the voice of its daily newsletter SGF A.M. He covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger